Julia Ross, who wrote the Mood Cure, recommends taking 5 HTP 50 mg pills, 1-3 pills at mid afternoon and 1-3 pills at bedtime. If you haven't tried it before, she says to start with 1 pill, if you don't feel any difference in an hour, take a second one, and if still no difference in another hour, take a 3rd. At whatever point you feel a difference, that is your dose. She does not recommend 100 mg pills, I suppose because it limits the ability to start low and gradually increase, only as needed. Obviously, if you feel weird on it or have some side effect, don't take it. Her book is a great resource for how/when/why and side effects to look for when taking various aminos and supplements for mood. She also distinguishes between the "Blues" type of depression and the "Blahs" type of depression and recommends aminos/supplements accordingly.
5-HTP gives me terrible nightmares. It seems as if every night I am waking up screaming or crying, which has never happened to me even as a child. Every night for 2 weeks, I have dreamt that horrible things happened to family members, friends, and me. I also get these weird hallucinations when I am about to drift off to sleep where suddenly I see a giant spider or something on my pillow, then I'll scream and wake up. It is all but impossible to get up in the morning, even when I am done sleeping.
I started out taking 100mg before bed, then gave it a week and tried 100 in morning and 100 before bed, gave it another week and tried 100 in morning and 200 before bed, then tried 100 in morning, 100 in afternoon, 200 before bed, which I've been doing for the past 2 weeks. It does not seem to be helping my depression at all; in fact, it seems as if it has gotten worse.
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
(Vancouver, British Columbia)
I too had very good results with 5HTP. I was initially taking too much and got the anxiety that people mention. But I cut back the dose and it is so much better. I think people need to experiment with the times of the day that is best for them, and the dosage. I open the 100mg capsule and take 50mg in a tiny bit of water 30mins before breakfast - it helps get rid of the morning catatonia. I take 100mg in a tiny bit of water 30mins before dinner - it helps get rid of the comfort eating in the evening. And I take 50mg in a tiny bit of water at bedtime. I think you need to take it on an empty stomach. It seems to work better that way. But 5HTP definitely works for me - it was matter of finding the right dose and time of day to take it.
(Los Angeles, Ca, United States)
When I was going through extreme depression due to adrenal exhaustion I found taking 5HTP pulled me right out of the depression. I knew my serotonin was low and the 5HTP brought me back to normal levels. I started with a dosage of 50mg and gradually increased until I felt I could smile again. I beleive 5HTP is as close as you can get to the actual serotonin produced by your body.
Hi All! I take 60 mg of an anti-depressant (1 capsule, twice a day (doesn't really help) and depression. I also take 2 mg of an anti-anxiety (1 tablet, twice a day) for anxiety. I am trying to get off all my Rxs. I have been reading up on 5-HTP and weaning, which I did already know about, but my question is: How do I wean when the anti-depressant comes in capsule form (30 mg/capsule). I feel like there will be no way for me to know how much I am taking if I open the capsule to get to the medication. Also, I have gone from 60 mg to 30 mg, and even that was simply awful! Any help with this weaning situation is most appreciated! Amy
(Los Angeles, Ca, United States)
I'm on Effexor for depression and anxiety. I would love to stop taking it and try something more natural. But I know from previous experience that if I forget to take it within 6 hours I start having withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms are like having a really bad bout of the flu. Can't get out of bed, have really vivid dreams, etc. What is 5 -HTP and how could I start taking that and get rid of the Effexor? Thanks for any advise!
(Grimsby, On< Canada)
(Motown, Ca/ Usa)
My caution is quite different: there is a VERY good chance your doctor will advise against 5-HTP (or any natural remedy). For many, that avenue then becomes a dead end.
I use 5-HTP now after being prescribed pharmaceuticals, and it is at least as effective. The dark secret about meds is that for many of us they don't do much in the first place, and eventually they destroy your liver (which happened to my sister, with many serious health consequences).
My advice for wearning yourself off your meds (which is what I did) is to do it VERY slowly, and introduce 5-HTP as slowly. At least 3 months, until the dosages you are taking are just tiny crumbs. This will keep your side effects down to a bare minimum. Good luck!
You want the 5HTP to create serotonin in your brain, not your gut. The nausea from 5HTP comes about when the body makes serotonin in the gut rather than the brain. When Europeans take 5HTP they take it with a decarboxylase inhibitor so this will not happen. Try taking it sublingually. I've taken 5HTP on and off for years, but lately I'm having better results with Source Naturals' brand of Tryptophan. (See their website for a comparison of 5HTP and Tryptophan. ) When you take any amino acids, like Tryptophan, do not take with any other protein... Wait 2 or 3 hours, if possible. This may also apply to 5HTP. Amino Acids compete with each other to get into the brain, so it won't be effective if taken too near protein. Take these amino acid pills with fruits or fruit juices. Also take magnesium, folate, vitamin C and especially Vitamin B6 along with the 5HTP or Tryptophan to help your brain create serotonin. See LEF. ORG, then "tryptophan" for a helpful writeup. Here's a very good article:
You can also call LEF (Life Extension Foundation) for a free consultation (tel. 800-226-2370). I got relief from depression by following the GFCF diet (Gluten Free, Casein Free = no dairy, no wheat, barley, no rye, no oats unless gluten-free oats. ) My life picked up from that diet. Lots of info online about it; also see the book THE ULTRAMIND SOLUTION by Mark Hyman, M. D. Also I got great results by learning how to increase serotonin through diet. Do see this excellent book: NATURAL PROZAC by Dr. Joel Robertson. You can start by reading the reviews on Amazon for these books.
For me it 5-HTP pulled me right out of a severe depression and the difference was immediate, like night and day. I took a 200mg Now brand 5HTP cap and put about half under my tongue for sublingual absorbtion. You can look at this reference for low serotonin levels as well as other neurotransmitters. http://www.hbcprotocols.com/chart.html
Yes, 5HTP was a lifesaver for me. I had depression so bad that I would cry at the drop of a hat for no apparent reason. I took one 200mg NOW brand cap, opened it up and placed the powder under my tongue. I figured it would be absorbed faster this way. I was right. Within an hour I was back to myself, cracking jokes with my wife and feeling normal again. If you are low on seratonin this supplement is the ticket. I take a 5HTP whenever my body tells me too which is occasionally. I don't think it's good to be on this supplement forever as it is said to deplete dopamine levels, another important neurotransmitter. The big question is how do you know if you are low in seratonin? These are some of the telltale signs of low seratonin:
Anxiety - This can be anything from mild panic to extreme impairment and distress in a high-stress situation.
Fatigue - If you catch yourself being tired all the time regardless of the amount of sleep you get, consider caffeine a major food group and habitually experience mental fogginess, there may be something other than just being too tired.
Depression - Let's face it, everyone has times when they're just down and melancholy, it's part of life; however, if you have "the blues" consistently for extended periods of time you may be experiencing a depressed mood that may require additional intervention.
Impaired cognitive function - Can't remember where you put the car keys and have to think hard about simple math? Cognitive function is directly impacted by serotonin levels and a severe deficiency may result in mental fogginess, minor memory loss and slowed problem-solving abilities.
Low self-esteem - Habitually feeling disgusted by yourself or feeling worthless are not normal things. At times, everyone is bound to believe negative things about themselves. If this severely low self-esteem keeps up for weeks or months, other issues may be the cause.
Loss of pleasure - A marked loss of interest in hobbies previously enjoyed or a sudden lack of even a sense of satisfaction at a job well done are also symptoms of a serotonin deficiency. When the noted lack of pleasure gotten out of activities becomes nearly non-existent, it may be something beyond mere boredom.
Insomnia - Though everyone has the occasional difficulties sleeping at night due to stress or anxiety, insomnia or hyposomnia can be seriously detrimental to health if you're repeatedly not able to sleep until very late hours and only manage to get a few hours of sleep each night or have sleep that is consistently interrupted by waking and being unable to go back to sleep quickly. On the same token hypersomnia, or too much sleep, may also be a symptom of serotonin deficiency.
Poor impulse control - This may often manifest itself in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, manic spending or in addictions such as drugs or alcohol. Many severe addictions are caused or exacerbated by low levels of serotonin.
I love 5-HTP. It has helped me while I've gone through some pretty tough times. I just take 50 mg. Every night. But even at that lowest dose, it has made a big difference for me. :-)
5HTP helps me very well when I have the Blues. I take only 50mg in the morning. It works very subtle. I notice when I do not take it. I also take PS (Phosphatidylserine). It helps me get up and do my work and it helps me with procrastination. I found with 5HTP that it works better in low dosages. When people take too much they experience anxiety.
Hey, I have always struggled with depression and anxiety since I was young. However, it wasn't until my father passed away very suddenly that I started taking lorazepam & citalopram for extreme anxiety and depression. I am really not into prescriptions unless absolutely necessary. Does anyone know how to start to switch off of prescriptions onto 5-htp? I can never find any answers if it's ok to start weaning off of the prescriptions and introducing the 5-htp right away. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I really want to get off of these meds right away. Thanks!
5-HTP for depression. This little pill did wonders for me. I had been feeling depressed for around a month due to heavy family problems. When I finally put all my symptoms together (oversleeping, hopelessness, sadness, emotionally unstable) I instantly came to this site. Cold showers did not appeal to me at all; I live in sunny CA and still get cold. I ordered the pills and thankfully they came the next day. I take one or two (depending on how I am doing) 100mg pills a day. My mood has definitely improved and I am finally returning to my normal self. They also seem to have reduced my terrible headaches. I recommend 5-HTP to all!
(Las Vegas, Nevada)
Hi I found 5 htp a couple of years ago on the internet, looking for something to help my sadness and depression, so i heard about 5 htp , well i was desprite and i took 2 100 every day , it helped me so so much, I go off it some times because the side effects for me are, it makes me get my period more often , mind you i think that is when i was taking 300 mg . and also it has caused me to get itchy palms of my hand ,and the back of my head . but now that iv gone down on them and taken a break for a few months , im good . but i have to go on them because it helps me so much for depression. i have just discovered the 5 htp with 200 mg L- Ter , wow as far as I'm concerned its a bloody miracle. it changes my whole mood . makes me very happy .but for sure one other side effect I'm not as hungry when im on it . and i dream more vividly. but as far as I'm concerned it's a wonder drug, sorry for the spelling. let's just hope the drug companies don't take them away.